The turn of the Screw, world premiere in Reggio Emilia

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The turn of the Screw is the work of Benjamin Brittenwith libretto by Myfanwy Piper, based on the short novel of the same name by Henry Jameswhich makes its world premiere Friday 19 May (8.00 pm) to the Ariosto Theatre (repeated on Sunday 21 May at 3.30 pm), produced by Reggio Emilia Theaters Foundationwith Icarus Ensembledirected by Francesco Bossagliadirection, set design and costumes by Fabio Condemi and scenes and dramaturgy of the image of Fabio Cherstich. They complete the artistic cast Gianluca Sbicca (costumes) e Oscar Frosio (lights), the main performers will be: Florian Panzieri, Chiara Trapani, Laura Zecchini, Liga Liedskalnina.

The turn of the screw is a ghost story about two orphaned children, Miles and his sister Flora, entrusted to a governess in a large country house. Gradually the governess, young and inexperienced, discovers that the children are under the influence of two spirits, that of Peter Quint, the former servant of the house, and that of Miss Jessel, the previous governess.

“Approaching a work by Britten, especially a vocal work, is a privilege for any musician and Turn of the screw is no exception – writes the director Francesco Bossaglia – With the finesse of the writing for the voices, Britten paints a precise psychological portrait of the characters and their relationships; one of the most fascinating aspects of the work of an orchestra conductor or a singer is precisely that of reconstructing the actual direction that the author suggests to us through every little sign of the score”:“I believe that The turn of the screw by Benjamin Britten is not just a musical transposition of Henry James’ story – writes the director in his notes Fabio Condemi – I believe it is instead a profound reflection on the themes present in the story, a parallel text that dialogues, approaches and continually detaches itself from the original in a fruitful and very current comparison. At the heart of the story told in The Turn of the Screw (1897) there is an absence, an empty center (this is Pietro Citati’s beautiful definition) around which they gravitate (like the hawk in Yeats’s poem quoted in the libretto of the opera) the characters with their fears, their hopes, their dreams. The dispute on the realityunreality of ghosts (which so divides the Jamesian exegetes) becomes secondary in this perspective. The real question is to ask ourselves about this emptiness, this absence, which drags all the characters into a downward and unstoppable spiral. James (and Britten) use a narrative frame to organize their story. this frame triggers a very interesting narrative mechanism and is the starting point for our reading of the work”.

The real question is questioning the void, the absence that drags all the characters into a downward and unstoppable spiral. The scenic space created by Fabio Cherstich is markedly installation: “In The Turn of the Screw – he explains – the main space is that of a sinister underground warehouse, an apparently abandoned but constantly changing warehouse. Against the background of a dynamic and cinematographic montage of scenes and paintings, the action drama acquires symbolic and conceptual strength in relation to the spatiality (…) Even the scenic layout of The Turn of the Screw is not presented as a merely architectural scenography, but as a real scenic device made up of Chinese boxes, small sets with a film and a large display case mounted on a track – a diorama that houses the main scenes of the work and where outside and inside merge and merge: a visual machine designed to lead viewers on this journey into the abyss of man – and of evil, which is Britten’s work in our re-reading”.

Friday 19 May at 20.00 Sunday 21 May at 15.30

Ariosto Theatre

(The turn of the screw)

opera in a prologue and two acts

libretto Myfanwy Piper, from the homonymous short novel by Henry James

music Benjamin Britten

The Governess Laura Zecchini

Quint / The Prologue Florian Panzieri
Miles Ben Fletcher
Flora Maia Greaves
Mrs Grose Clare Trapani
Miss Jessel Liga Lieskalnina

Icarus Ensemble

Director Francesco Bossaglia

Director, set design and costumes Fabio Condemi

Scenes and dramaturgy of the image Fabio Cherstich

Costumes Gianluca Sbicca
Luci Oscar Frosio
New production of the Reggio Emilia Theater Foundation